Dr. Alex Joffe

Palestinian Sovereignty after Abbas

| July 13, 2018

Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas’s recent illnesses have again raised the matter of his successor. This brewing issue highlights contradictory aspects of Palestinian political culture. The leaders create chaos and then blackmail Western powers in exchange for containment of the unrest. Their next step is to internationalize the conflict by demanding unconditional support. Both tactics create dependency and fundamentally undermine Palestinian sovereignty. Trusteeship schemes for the West Bank illustrate the pattern of dysfunction. Only a concept of Palestinian sovereignty free of blackmail and internationalization would allow for a successful state, but this is thwarted by the concept of Palestinian national honor, which demands a return to an imaginary status quo ante.

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Transfer UNRWA’s Responsibilities to Whom?

| April 20, 2018

International political changes and genuine refugee crises have prompted a renewed examination of UNRWA, the internationally funded mechanism for the Palestinians. The problem of transferring UNRWA’s health, welfare, and education responsibilities to other organizations is not easily resolved. Despite obvious problems (primarily the inevitable corruption), absorbing UNRWA into the PA is the least bad alternative, as it offers a path for both capacity-building and real oversight.

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Reframing the Middle Eastern and Palestinian Refugee Crises

and | March 13, 2018

There are two Middle Eastern refugee crises currently vying for resources and attention. One is nominally focused on Syria but in fact extends from Libya to Afghanistan. The other crisis is Palestinian and has supposedly been going on since 1948. A closer look at the causes of these crises shows the former to be primarily the result of the collapsing Arab state system and the rise of militant Islam, while the latter cannot be considered a crisis at all.

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Palestinians and Internationalization: Means and Ends

| November 26, 2017

From the 1920s to the present, Palestinian elites have called for Muslim, Arab, and other forms of international support in order to situate their cause at the head of emerging trends and movements. Internationalization has also served as a means to nationalize the Palestinian masses. But in the process, Palestinians have repeatedly ceded control to outside forces and interests, from Arab, pan-Arab, and revolutionary nationalists, to today’s anti-globalization red-green alliance, which have manipulated Palestinian nationalism for their own ends. The root cause of this process is weak Palestinian national identity.

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The British Political Crisis and European Politics: A Dystopian Scenario

| November 13, 2017

The ongoing collapse of Theresa May’s government in Britain raises the possibility of new elections in which Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would be the likely winner. The red-green alliance between the European far left and Islamist parties threatens to create a dystopian scenario in which national identities are rapidly discarded and national security compromised by terrorism and separatism. This would represent a tremendous danger to the continent’s Jews, to Israel, and to the US.

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Palestinian Settler-Colonialism

| September 3, 2017

The concept of “settler colonialism” has been applied with almost unique vehemence against Israel. But the fact that Jews are the indigenous population of the Southern Levant can be proved with ease. In contrast, historical and genealogical evidence shows Palestinians descend primarily from three primary groups: Muslim invaders, Arab immigrants, and local converts to Islam. The Muslim conquest of Byzantine Palestine in the 7th century CE is a textbook example of settler-colonialism, as is subsequent immigration, particularly during the 19th and 20th centuries under the Ottoman and British Empires. The application of the concept to Jews and Zionism by Palestinians is both ironic and unhelpful.

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Trump and the Israelization of American Politics

| April 24, 2017

The election of Donald Trump as US president has generated superficial comparisons with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But one key factor in both leaders’ success is a fragmented and polarized opposition that is unable to project alternative leaders or policies. The tone and manner of opposition politics are made more extreme by their own sense of entitlement, and are pushed further left by bullying from the elected leadership. Without civic education and new, more centrist leaders, American politics will continue to resemble that of Israel, to the detriment of effective democracy.

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Palestinians and the Balfour Declaration at 100: Resisting the Past

| March 26, 2017

On the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, the Palestinians have launched a campaign calling for an official British apology and compensation. This effort illustrates the ways in which honor, internationalization, symbolism, and playing on Western guilt shape the Palestinian culture of denial, which impedes progress towards either a stable Palestinian state or peace with Israel.

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BDS, Political Religion, and the Crisis of the Global Left

| October 28, 2016

The BDS movement against Israel is a microcosm of the global Left. Both are political religions that sanctify secular entities and demonize their opponents, weaponizing liberal principles in order to create retributive “justice.” The BDS movement fuses Muslim and Communist antipathy towards Jewish difference and indeed to Jewish existence, embodied in Israel.

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